Stay Afraid. Do It Anyway.

January 8, 2017 | Filed Under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , ,    | Comment

carriefisher_stayafraidAlong with the rest of the world. I was deeply saddened to hear of the loss of Carrie Fisher in the last weeks of 2016. With her passing, I learned so much more about her that I hadn’t known, most significantly of her struggle with mental illness and her honesty in her attempts to shine a light into the darkened corner that is the mental health stigma in our society.

There was a quote that started circulating shortly after her death from her 2008 special “Wishful Drinking”:

““Stay afraid, but do it anyway. What’s important is the action. You don’t have to wait to be confident. Just do it and eventually the confidence will follow.”

As someone social anxiety, this quote impacted me profoundly. What’s powerful about it to me is the permission it gives to be afraid. My impression of the way society treats anxiety has always been “well, stop feeling anxious”. I myself have attempted to “turn it off” numerous times, with predictable levels of success.

But Carrie is telling us that it’s ok to be afraid, to be anxious, but you have to do it anyway. Do the thing you’re afraid of. Don’t let it stop you. And when I read this, it’s like something clicked over in my brain.

Tomorrow night, I’m competing in a social dance competition for the first time in my life. About 18 months ago, I got back into Lindy Hop after a 12 year hiatus (long enough to lose all of my technique and relearn all the bad habits). It’s a very low-key competition compared to many of them, encouraging folks of all levels to sign up, making allowances for the fact it’s not all going to be the Best Dancers in the World up there, and yet I’m scared out of my mind. The format is that they partner you up with a stranger, and you dance and are judged.

There’s a lot of things I’m afraid of:
-I’m afraid my assigned partner is going to be disappointed.
-I’m afraid the judges are going to wonder why I thought I could do this.
-I’m afraid the audience will wonder why I thought I could do this.
-I’m afraid that for the rest of my life everyone will whisper about that girl who thought she could do this.
-The above 4 repeat in various forms.
-You get the picture.

But see, my Anxiety and I have been together for a long time, and I’ve found some ways to trick my way around her.

First of all, I’ve been talking about this. I talked to my friends in dance, I talked to Facebook, so EVERYONE knows what I’m doing. Which means if I don’t, I have to awkwardly explain to EVERYONE about how I chickened out. A few minutes of anonymous and potentially embarrassing is way easier than explaining to 500 of my closest friends why I didn’t go through with it.

Secondly, I’ve lowered my expectations. The ONLY thing I hope to accomplish here is to get my first Jack and Jill competition out of the way. As soon as the music starts, I’ve accomplished my goal, regardless of the outcome.

Lastly, I know why I’m doing it. I have spent a lot of time obsessing over this since I decided to go through with it, and a lot of that has been asking myself what I’m hoping to get out of it. Because of that, I know I am not expecting to place. At ALL.

But here’s the thing – Jack and Jills terrify me. And I refuse to accept that something in the world can intimidate me that much. So I will take action to remove its power.

And that starts tomorrow night, at my first Jack and Jill competition.

WIsh me luck.

Blast from the Past: Julius Caesar

April 16, 2015 | Filed Under: Uncategorized |    | Comment

 

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Throwback Thursday is a thing. And like all cool things, I tend to get into them as they’re finishing being cool (if anyone gets that reference, I owe you a cookie!).

Combine that with my tendency to go months (years? We won’t say years.) without updating this thing, we’re going to try this Throwback thing. It’ll give me a chance to highlight moments that meant a lot to me over the years, that I never shared here!

First up: Julius Caesar’s Ivey Award.

Did you know I was part of an Ivey Award winning show? I totally was! In September of 2012, Julius Caesar received an Ivey Award for Best Inventive Reinterpretation, on account of the all-girls thing. It was a thrill, I don’t know that anyone expected it ahead of time, and people were very excited.

What’s that? You don’t see me in the photo? FUNNY STORY. This was the first Ivey Awards in years that I didn’t attend! This particular year’s event happened to fall on my dear husband’s birthday, and while he is very supportive, I didn’t want to make him go to a theatre event on his big day. After all, it wasn’t like anything terribly exciting was going to happen. (HA!)

So there’s the first throwback – the year my show won an Ivey and I didn’t bother to show up. That’s a story I’ll be telling for years, THAT’S for sure.

Thanks for reading!!! If you’re interested, check out the Star Tribune review of “Julius Caesar”.

Be Minnesota Nice

March 30, 2015 | Filed Under: Uncategorized | Tags: , ,    | Comment

I am currently recovering from what turned out to be a fantastic weekend of overnight shooting for a short film, Minnesota Nice. It’s being put together by a great group of students from MCTC’s film program. At first I was a little apprehensive about the 9pm – 6am shooting schedules, but the fact of the matter was that I had a really amazing time. I got to finally work with long time friend and respected coach Cynthia Uhlrich, whose coaching and phenomenal instincts have helped me achieve some of my favorite triumphs in the theater scene. We ended up butting heads on camera, and tried to refrain from laughing at the other’s antics until after the cameras were off.

I’m always impressed with the professionalism of the students when I’ve worked on films like this one. They’re a talented and motivated bunch – after all, they have a tangible stake in the outcome in the form of their grades.

I couldn’t have done it without the wholehearted support of my husband, who took on full time solo parenting duties while I was sleeping off the night’s shooting for half of every day. As always, he is my rock and my number one fan, and (especially these days) I wouldn’t be able to do what I do without him.

But I experienced something this weekend that I haven’t felt in quite a while, since before I had my son 18 months ago. I haven’t had an opportunity to really dive into a role or project like I was able to do with this one. I was fully immersed in this for three days, and it reminded me of what I love about acting and performing. It was exhausting, and exhilarating, and it made me want to dive in to the next project.

Perhaps after I get some sleep….

PS – Wanna know more about Minnesota Nice and stay apprised of updates? Check out (and like!) their Facebook page – Minnesota Nice!

Car Commercials are fun!

March 27, 2015 | Filed Under: Uncategorized | Tags: , ,    | Comment

I had a great time at a commercial shoot with Cuneo Advertising on Wednesday! I worked with this company on my “Soccer Mom” commercial last year, so I was thrilled when I saw they were looking for people again, AND that he got back to me and asked me to come out!

It was a family scenario, buying a new car, and it was so much fun. I met Jake, my “husband”, a very lovely actor here in the Twin Cities. I also met Quinn and Emma, two great kids who were acting in a commercial for the very first time! The four of us had a lot of fun imagining the places we were driving while the camera was rolling.

Best of all, we were in and out in 30 minutes! Balancing acting projects like this with the day job is certainly much easier when I’m working with pros who understand the value of our time, and get us in and out.

I hope to have another chance to work with this group again soon!

Tempus fugit

May 13, 2012 | Filed Under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , ,    | Comment

Wow! I blinked and six months went by. When last we talked, I was gearing up for “Reindeer Monolo

gues” at Workhouse Theatre Company. It went famously – we had some great crowds, and the black comedy of the show shocked some, delighted others, and generally amused.

 

In early 2012 I received an unexpected opportunity to work with Walking Shadow Theatre Company, a lovely group that I highly recommend to anyone. They are a genuinely wonderful group of people, and I had an amazing time working with them on Oscar Wilde’s “An Ideal Husband.” We experienced great houses (it was the first time in Walking Shadow history that they had to add an encore performance, and it sold out!), and it was fun spending that time in Victorian England (the costumes and hair were AWESOME as well).

And of course, I just wrapped up work on Theatre Unbound’s Julius Caesar, with an all female cast. The craziest part about this experience was the fact that it was set in Ancient Rome. I don’t think I’ve ever done a truly period Shakespeare piece, and to do it with an all female cast was a wild ride! Also, 15 women and one 8 x 12 dressing room? An exercise in sisterhood. We nailed it though – everyone in the cast was warm, friendly, and respectful of each others’ space and rituals. I couldn’t have asked for a better group to share a tiny, tiny space with.

And now I have reached hiatus! I just spent my first week without a project since last October, and I’m loving it. Nowhere to be, nothing to do, it’s a nice change of pace. I’m not sure how long I can keep it up (it’s my nature to be creating or working toward something) but I’m confident that I’ll find my way to where I need to be. I’m planning on spending some time from the stage, and focusing more on film work, so I’m watching the audition postings for that. I love film as a creative media, it’s so different from stage (I know, that’s pretty obvious. Great revelations by Anissa). I will save my musings on that for another post.

I hope that spring is finding you well, and that you are as full of enthusiasm for the coming summer months as I am. I plan to embrace this summer as it is the first one I’ve spent in the Twin Cities without a theatre project in the five years we’ve lived here! There are all kinds of adventures that are calling to me.

Best,

~Anissa~

See Anissa in The Eight: Reindeer Monologues, December 3 – 18th!

December 3, 2011 | Filed Under: Uncategorized | Tags: ,    | Comment

Production photo for "The Eight: Reindeer Monologues"Happy holidays everyone!

I hope your Thanksgiving holiday was safe, warm, and calorie laden! It’s just starting to get cold here in Minneapolis, although we have yet to have a snowfall that sticks around for more than a few days. The Mall of America is bustling with Christmas shoppers, the bicyclists are considerably more bundled up (but still out, the crazy-heads), and I’m opening a Christmas show tonight!

When I was in college, I saw a production of “The Eight: Reindeer Monologues” and I loved it. Dark, at times irreverent, thought provoking, and surprisingly relevant subject matter despite a cast of characters made up of Santa’s eight tiny reindeer, I knew I wanted a chance to bring it to life on stage one day.

I’m getting that wish tonight. Tonight we open “The Eight” at the Workhouse Theatre Company, the Ivey award winning theatre company based in North Minneapolis. There are four of us in the cast, each playing two of Santa’s reindeer. I’ve had a really wonderful time over the last few months with this talented bunch of people, including Ben Tallen, Noe Tallen, and Richard Jackson with direction by Mark Webb.

There’s also a lot of other fantastic theater happening right now in the Twin City area; including Truman Capote’s A Christmas Memory at the Minnesota Historical Society, and Le Cirque Rouge’s original burlesque production of the “NUTCRACKER SUITE”. I’m really excited about both of these productions, and I can’t wait to see them come to life.

So, if you’re looking for a great live theatre production to help celebrate the holiday season, check out one of the shows above, one of the other great live theatre productions that can be found around town, or “The Eight: Reindeer Monologues” at Workhouse Theatre.

Audience support of live theatre in the Twin Cities is how theatre artists are able to keep doing what we do. You are the reason we are able to live this life – thank you for that and have a safe holiday!!!

 

The Eight plays Dec 3rd-Dec 18th 2011 at The Warren – An Artist Habitat, 4400 Osseo Rd, Minneapolis MN 55412.
Show times Thursday (Dec 15th only), Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m.
There is a special pay-what-you-can performance on Monday, December 5th at 7:30pm
Tickets are $15 at the door ($13 online); $13 for students and senior citizens ($11 online).
To make reservations, call 612.216.1583. To purchase tickets online, visit www.workhousetheatre.org

New website! New Look!!!

April 10, 2011 | Filed Under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , ,    | Comment

Welcome to the brand spanking new redesign of Anissasiobhan.com ! I’ve been wanting to freshen up the place for a while and I’m happy to say that I’ve finally buckled down and done it! I’m thrilled with the new look and I hope you are too!

2011 is shaping up to be busy, and I like busy! Here’s a quick glimpse into all the latest news for me:

March, 2011: I got new headshots! (you can see the first on my home page, and I’ll get some of my other favorites up eventually as well)

April – May, 2011: I started rehearsal for Theatre Or’s OY! , a “comic tribute to all things Jewish and all things human”. I play Eve (yes, THAT Eve) as well as a few other parts. It’s shaping up to be lots of fun, and I’m excited to be a part of it!

July – August, 2011: I’ve been cast in the Fringe Show “The Duties and Responsibilities of Being a Sidekick” with Barkada Theatre. I had a lot of fun in the audition, which is always a great sign. And it’s a show about super-heroes, so I’m looking forward to having TONS of fun with it!

Fall, 2011: Trojan Women with Green T Productions. This Spring I’ve been participating in a dance training workshop with Green T Productions, for the purpose of feeding into their Fall production of Trojan Women. It will incorporate Balinese dance/chant traditions, and I think it’ll be fresh and interesting.

So that’s 2011 so far! Lots going on but I’m thrilled to be so involved. I will try to post regularly so keep checking back or subscribe to my RSS Feed (link on the menu bar) for updates!